Whether you spent a summer bagging every fourteener in the Rocky Mountains or you walked across the country completing a National Scenic Trail, these experiences that define the way you think can also define the way potential employers see you as a potential employee.
Though the job-seeking process is a far cry from what your adventure stood for, if you ever do want to step up to that dream organization and primo position you’ve been striving for, a big adventure can help you stand out in the playing field. While it always helps to apply towards an organization with similar outdoor values, if you do need a little help selling your case, check out these ways any big adventure can help you on your next job application.
Planning, Organization, and Attention to Detail
Anyone who has loaded climbing gear into the back of a vehicle knows the value of organization, planning and the importance of being detailed. That’s because in many ways in the outdoors, your life depends on it. Beyond the sticky notes and color-coded manilla envelopes, when you put yourself out in the backcountry, on top of the rock or anywhere where modern conveniences don’t apply, it’s your planning, organizing and attention to detail that helps keep you safe.
Passionate and Value-Driven
Perhaps you plunged into the wilderness to photograph the natural world, or you scaled the highest mountain to know if you could do it, whatever the reason, there is an identifiable spark of life that pushes you forward. It takes more than nails to build a house, it requires a relentless swing of the hammer that comes from these passions and values. With that kind of enthusiasm and the right position you are applying for, many things are possible.
Works Well with Others
Sending messages back to basecamp, ensuring cordial contact with your climbing partners, even knowing how to ask for that last scoop of peanut-butter, a key to any successful expedition is the ability to work well with others. Even the most self-driven, highly-capable adventurer relies on others, or more appropriately on his/her relationship with others. Whether you lead with a joke or cut straight to the point, communicating and surviving together in the outdoors is a balancing act between hearing and speaking, and can be a huge addition to any company or position.
Self-Motivation, Determination, Tenacity
Your drive for life is set on high, after all, what else could have pushed you to that final mile and beyond the finish line? For some it’s coffee, others it’s tea, but it is the rush of a brand new day that gets you out of bed and one step closer to your goals. Given the right direction to follow, and the support at your side, with your demonstrated self-motivation, determination and tenacity behind you, you can take any business that extra distance.
Critical Thinking Abilities
Remember that time the bridge was out? Or when your tent poles broke under the weight of the overnight snow? Or how about that time mice got into your food bag and killed a few day’s supplies? While everyone has been in a situation that wasn’t included in the plans, for many instances it didn’t mean game over. Instead, by evaluating the elements, assessing the assets and making a most-informed decision, plans have changed and obstacles hurdled. This kind of thinking-on-your-toes ability is valuable in all aspects of life and career.
Physical and Mental Capabilities
If you are applying for a job that would require some physical movement, then riding your bike across the country or swimming across Lake Michigan is a clear example of your abilities. The other side of things, the part that doesn’t necessarily have such tangible definitions as miles ran or vertical climbed, is the mental capabilities that pushed you forward. You might describe it as fool-hearty or as a lack of common sensibility when it’s day 13 of pouring-down rain and your thigh muscles feel like balloons about to pop, but in the end, your are stronger from these experiences, both physically and mentally.
It all seems to boil down to this, such easy words to use but a hard concept to truly understand. Big adventures have a way of rearranging some of the hard-wiring in our brains, infusing new capabilities and perspectives with every step and turn of the wheel. It can be subtle, like a beard trying to grow, but the person you become after a big trip is different from the person who started one. Whether it was the plentiful exercise or the insightful moments, perhaps even just the ego-boost from an accomplishment, that person you are now because of your big adventure is the perfect candidate for your dream job or position.